Support scheme for tourism staff

Support scheme for tourism staff

Database for job loss prevention in sector

Khao San Road, usually packed with carousing tourists, is virtually devoid of business activity. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Khao San Road, usually packed with carousing tourists, is virtually devoid of business activity. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) aims to establish the Tourism Labour Bank assistance programme by March for tourism workers suffering from the impact of the pandemic as the fresh outbreak could result in up to 2 million workers in the industry losing their jobs.

"The council will develop a tourism employment database that does not only shed light on the number of tourism workers in order to estimate the impact from the future crisis and come up with effective measures, but also seeks ways to prevent more job losses in the tourism segment," said Chamnan Srisawat, TCT's president.

Unemployed tourism workers who are registered with the programme can join training for upskilling and reskilling in useful topics such as online marketing and languages, with support for daily expenses, he said.

They can also be temporarily hired for jobs in tourism businesses that need more staff so they will not have to switch to other jobs, he said.

The government can safeguard tourism jobs by implementing the co-payment scheme for a monthly salary of up to 15,000 baht with the government subsidising half of it, he said. The labour bank can carry out this assistance.

The tourism confidence index in 2020's fourth quarter, which polled 1,020 local tourism operators during Nov 11-Dec 29, is 62, up from 60 in the third quarter, but down significantly from 88 in the same period of 2019.

A reading of 100 indicates overall tourism sentiment is stable, while a reading below 100 shows a drop in confidence.

According to the survey, 1.04 million tourism workers lost their jobs last year as 3% of tourism companies shut down permanently and 10% were temporarily closed.

While 85% of companies continued to operate, half of them cut 30-40% of their workforce.

With the new outbreak, the index in this quarter was predicted to fall to 53. Operators in destinations that heavily rely on tourism like Bangkok and the Southern region showed the lowest confidence at only 37 and 39, respectively.

Mr Chamnan said in the first half the government must constantly introduce more inclusive tourism stimulus measures on top of subsidies given to hotels and airlines.

Meetings and seminars held by state agencies can help boost domestic trips in the second half, he noted.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said 80% of hoteliers in major destinations, such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phangnga and Bangkok, have temporarily closed.

Apart from the co-payment scheme, financial relief in the form of a two-year debt payment holiday, reduced electricity bills and soft loans (such as a 60-million-baht loan per hotel with 2% interest rate) could play a crucial role in supporting tourism operators, she said.

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